THE END OF ALL (WAR UNCHECKED)

THE END OF ALL (WAR UNCHECKED)

I play the Ogre in the sun
Battles in the unreal Wastes
Tracks upon the injured Earth
Men lost at bootless, useless tasks
Desperate in their race
To halt the Great Machine
Before it plows their graves

Shells fired true at noon
Scream and then erupt
Melting steel and flesh
Can any still be saved?

A flash and searing light
Mushroom clouds rise
High in Death –
Men are vaporized, but
Shielded from the shock
The Ogre shakes it off
The Ogre lumbers on,
All else is crushed like dust
Reduced to crumbled rock
In what can men now trust?
In what do they take stock?

Replacements rush the line
Their missiles roar in flight
The battle rages gold and red
Until the fall of night,
The ruins smolder long
The slag it runs like blood
The dark is still and cold
Men buried in the mud

No movement shows on scopes
No sound is heard to churn
The ground no longer shakes
No giant Beast comes forth
There is no steam or quake,
The moon spies no Mighty Monster
Neath the clouds of man-made smoke
As it runs the sky in haste –
It seems as if there’s Victory
That doom has been revoked

Yet come the dawn
Come the morning’s rise
Men in dread do hear
The distant turning wheel and clank
Of scored and tempered metal
Once more in motion on the Earth,
They feel the tremors, re-sight the Beast
As it lumbers on uncaring
Atomic piles of superheated waste
A mind of carbon frozen cold
An alloyed soul of silicates
That knows no mercy, rest, or wear
That shed no tears for corpses piled
Higher than its mighty head
With its massive maw of cannon red
And unblinking Cyclopean Eye
That watches all and sees all things
Far and wide
Except, of course, for what it does…

An Ogre plays beneath the burning sun
Battles rage in fresh ruined wastes
Tracks marred hard upon the dying Earth
Men lost in their hellish tasks
Desperate in their race
To kill the Great Machine
Before it plows their countless graves

Yet come the dusk before the dawn
Come the night before the fight
The monster knows not, cares not
Asks not, hears not the wounded
Cries and screams of men
For the Ogre has no doubt
It dreams no dream
Except the dream of what it does –
War unchecked, and winning that
The End of All,
Himself as well
To die alone
Beneath a burning sun
Unneeded anymore…

 

Sometimes at lunch I play Ogre. Against myself.

Ogre is actually based on the old Keith Laumer series Bolo. Some of my favorite sci-fi tales to read when I was a kid. I recommend both the game and the books.

Today I played a particularly superb scenario that I had also written for myself. It was a “Total War Scenario.”

By the end of the scenario the human forces had been completely annihilated and the Ogre could not move having also been almost entirely destroyed.

I’ve decided to call it my War Unchecked Scenario. Or the End-All scenario.

Rarely have I fought or devised a wargames scenario that resulted in such almost perfect annihilation of both sides.

After ruminating on what it implied for a little while I wrote the poem above, The End of All.

I was surprised at how well the poem came out, especially since it was based upon nothing more than a wargames scenario. And it has been very well received and critiqued by my family, friends, and the followers of my poetry and writings. Then again I always try and envision any wargame (or role play game, or real life training scenario) as realistically in my head as possibly in order to execute it properly and to see what real life lessons might be learned.

So this poem will go into my file for Espionage and Military and Survival Poetry. Later I will seek to have it published. You are welcome to make your own comments on it as well.

YEAH, SO EXACTLY HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

YEAH, SO EXACTLY HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

“It’s a question of precisely what is the most ethical possible practice,” Termkin said, apparently annoyed by Steinthal’s relentless and unswerving line of inquiry.

Steinthal stared at him intently, but unreadably.

“Is it?” asked Steinthal.

Termkin seemed puzzled by the question.

“What do you mean?” Termkin said.

“See,” said Steinthal twirling the brim of his hat in his hand, “that’s where I think we both know you’re wrong.”

Termkin furrowed his brow, his expression a mixture of ongoing annoyance and a genuine struggle to understand.

“I still don’t perceive your exact meaning?”

“No, I don’t think you do,” said Steinthal. “And I really didn’t expect that you could. But let me simplify the matter for you. You see I have this theory that everything is always really about morality. And that ethics is just something that lawyers and other no count types like you employ as a cheap legal substitute.”

Termkin seemed to follow Steinthal’s explanation at a slightly slower pace than it had been enunciated. But when he finally caught up he suddenly flushed red and showed his ire.

“Why you smart mouthed son of a bitch!”

Steinthal laughed good humoredly.

“Probably,” he said. “But I noticed you didn’t bother to refute me.”

Termkin mulled on that for a moment before his snappy comeback finally came to him.

“Oh yeah, well exactly how is one supposed to refute you smartass types?” Termkin demanded. “You think you’re always right.”

Steinthal stood up and put his hat on his head. He smiled to himself as if Termkin wasn’t even in the room though he was still staring right at him.

“See, that’s the part about this whole thing that’s easiest to resolve,” said Steinthal. “We are always right. Even when no one else knows it yet. Like you. As for the thinking part, well now, if you ever really bothered with that then I presume you could figure it out for yourself.”

Steinthal tipped his hat at Termkin in a peculiar gesture. “But I’m not gonna lay real money on it.”

Steinthal walked across the room, opened the door and then looked back at Termkin.

“I’d like to say it was nice to meet you Termkin. But, we met anyway. So at least we’ll always have that.”

The he left.

Still full of questions, but certain he finally crossed the right man.

______________________________________________

A bit of dialogue involving my Detective Character Steinthal. I didn’t really get a chance to do a Tuesday’s Tale this week. Too busy. So I’m posting this today instead.

My youngest daughter read it and I asked her what she thought of it and she said, “Dad, Steinthal talks pretty much just like you.”

Which made me laugh.

“Yeah, funny how that works, ain’t it?” I told her…

MY WIFE’S BODY

My wife arrived home from a trip to the beach on July the First. The next morning we had get home sex. She went to sleep afterwards but I got up and wrote the following poem.

I like the poem a lot but I am having difficulty naming it. I like these potential names/titles: Rich Everafter, Those Treasures Within, The Labors of Love, The Harvest of Human Labors, or Sweat of Our Love. 

If you have a preference among those or would like to make your own suggestion then feel free to do so. I look forward to reading your ideas.

Here is the poem. Let me know what you think, and what you would call it.

My wife’s body is naked and soft like broken ground
My wife’s body smells rich like fertile soil
My wife’s body is dark and moist like morning loam the restless Meander has watered at sunrise

I think that I shall plow her deeply again when she wakes and see what treasures within us both lie hid

Like the open fields of tended Pharos or the silty banks of the flooded Nile we shall suddenly sprout silver and salt and bare fecund Earth overflowing with milk and honey and blood dark wine and rampant wild oats and thus shall we feed ourselves a lifetime on the harvest of our human labors and the sweat of our love

My wife’s body is naked

My body is naked

Now shall we again labor in earnest, produce in abundance, and be rich everafter…

UNTOLD LAYERS

Untold layers of a man, say I

But three most vital and prime: Body, Mind, and Soul.

vitru_man_large

Of Body – movement, grace, strength, and sensation
Of Mind – craft, thought, apprehension, and creation
Of Soul – his inmost Self, Endurance, Honor, Truth, and Love

Untold layers of a man, say I

On Three All Other Things Depend

ON POETRY – TUESDAY’S TALE

Well, it ain’t really a Tale for Tuesday, but it is a tale about how you should tell what you can’t really tell when you try. Not in words, anyway…

ON POETRY

Poetry involves the minute manipulation of words in such a way that they are constantly and subtly altered in definition, either so that they take on a broader and more flexible implication than they have ever possessed before, or so that they take on a more narrow and peculiar resolution in terminology than they have ever before possessed.

Do this wisely and well and with patient and practiced craft and you will be considered a master of phrasing and sound, perhaps even possessed of real poetic genius. Do this sloppily or shoddily and in haste and without regard for the demands of true meaning in language and you will be considered a mere dilettante or perhaps even a hapless hack.

from my book, On Poetry

 

OUTCAST HONESTY

“When a man is terrified of being an outcast there is no way he can possibly be courageous enough to be honest.”

from Human Effort

NOTHING EVER CHANGES – TUESDAY’S TALE

NOTHING EVER CHANGES

“Yeah,” he said. “So I’ve heard tell.”

Maugham sighed, then leaned over with a groan and put his head in his in hands for awhile. He rubbed the top of his head slowly as if to somehow comfort his own mind. But it didn’t seem to work.

When he lifted his head back up he looked at Steinthal.

“Do you think it will ever change?”

Steinthal looked at him and then shrugged wearily.

“I suppose that’s entirely up to the people involved. I only know one thing for sure… and even that’s not much…” and then he fell silent.

Maugham waited but when Steinthal said nothing else he just stood back up. It was obvious he was hurt though, so Stenithal moved over and put his arm under his friend’s and around his back and helped him start to walk again.

“What’s the one thing by the way?” Maugham asked as the men made their way torturously out of the ruined building.

“Oh that,” said Stenthal, as if he had just assumed his friend already knew. “Nothing ever changes much when no one ever much changes.”

So they made their way back to the river, dripping sweat, shedding blood, grunting in pain, and limping as they went.

from The Detective Steinthal